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Tactical Board game with variable turn order - feedback requested

5 replies [Last post]
Joined: 12/21/2009

I love playing big games (8ish players), but waiting for your turn to play just gets flat out ridiculous at times. So over the past year or so, I've been designing out this idea of a game to drastically reduce that effect.

I have a very rough rulebook, but I would suggest not reading it until you read this summary first . If I had to say what game it is like, it would be similar to a Modern Warfare (domination) / Battlefield video game, but on a table of course.

The game would be setup on a tiled board with 2 teams. Each player on each team would have a number of units that would make up their squad. The objective would be to control various locations on the map which in turn would determine scoring.

Players control their units by issuing commands via cards. On each card there is a Command Cost (using a command point) and a speed. The speed will determine the order in which Orders are resolved. Players have a limited number of command points and cards per game round.

Once the game round begins, any player is allowed to play a card (face up). Once the first card is played, this starts the Order Sequence. From this point, all other players are free to play a card. Players may play multiple cards, but never in direct succession (meaning you can't play another card if you played the previous card). Once 10 seconds have passed with no activity (an arbitrary time), the Order Sequence ends and the individual orders are resolved with the highest Speed values going first.

Once all orders are resolved, players are then allowed to play cards again. This continues until all players are out of command points. Players then draw new cards, get more command points, and the game continues until one team has won. I know thats vague, but more detailed rules are in my rule book above.

The main thing that happens (well, that I plan to happen) is players are allowed to freely take as long as they want to plan their moves. However, the longer they do so, the more likely their opponents will make a move. At the same time though, if you make your moves very quickly, you may leave the door open to allow your opponent to craft a highly calculated move. Thats the plan at least.

Thats the general gist of it, any thoughts would really be good. So far I just about to do my first play test. Are there any games out there that have a similar mechanic? Any comments will be much appreciated. Thanks

genericm's picture
Joined: 08/11/2009
Just my few thoughts

After considering your system:

First I must say that basing a units action speed potential on cards does seem to be a unique idea in this setting and I think it has potential.

Consider though what you have accomplished after you balance this design. Effectively you have established a system where each player may move a few units units once or one unit a few times and each player is racing to throw down their best cards to see who gets to go first.

Seems like a big involved game mechanic that could be handled more simply.

What actions could you have besides different derivatives of move and shoot? It seems to me the variability could simply be handled by speed cards rather than Speed/Action cards. Otherwise what if you didn't draw a shoot card?

I fear that each players action potential would be greatly hampered by a bad set of cards. On that note you could give everyone a set number of speed cards and allow them to play from them until fully exhausted and then pick them back up. If this was implemented then it would not a matter of what speeds you draw but WHEN you use what you have.

The "Command" or action points seem to be a good way to limit a players actions per round so why limit them further with the luck of the draw. This is assuming your not building a deck building game.

Also seems like a lot of defensive tokens to be placing and the immediately removing. Why not have flippable unit tokens in order to have a less congested board.

I like the cover rules, but in my opinion the rear assault rules are a little fiddly. Too many +'s in combat are hard to keep track of and easy to forget. It might also be hard or cumbersome to keep track of where a unit is facing. (I know its an old standard but I like simple very intuitive rules)

Keep in mind these thoughts came from a very cursory examination of your rules.

Hope this helps. My two cents, take them for what their worth.

Pastor_Mora's picture
Joined: 01/05/2010
I shoud be sleeping...

I can tell you up front I didn't read your rules yet, but this post has summoned memories of myself facing the same waiting-for-your-turn issue. So this reply may serve you or not, but maybe someone profits from it. So, here it goes.

I have a startegical wargame (say like Axis & Allies) but with card units besides the army tokens. With six people, and with each players using 5 minutes to make their moves, you'll be "active" once every half an hour. Boooring. How do you deal with that? Here's how I did.

I divided the six players into 2 teams: army, navy and air force for both sides. In the production phase you get 3 cards per faction, and if it's an army, it will go to the army player, if it's a warship it will go to the navy's, etc. So, each player has his cards. Once a faction starts to attack, all players participate simultaneously, for example:

- The attacking navy bombards a land position (play Battleship card)
- The defender army player can use a Land Battery card and hope for the best dice or retreat (removing his faction army token from the board)
- Then the defenders get to counterattack if they wish, for instance, by the air force player using his F-18 Hornet (with anti-ship missiles) card.
- The attacker army (now defending) can hope for the best dice or retreat (loosing a token)
- The attacker air force (now attacking) can send his Interceptors card to deal with the Hornets then

And so on. This makes all players participate at all time. Always looking into their cards as how to get involved in the action, and measuring if they better save his faction ally or use their cards for their own purpose. This relates with calculations regarding Initiative in battle, but that deserves a whole new post, surelly not here.

I always support large scale strategic wargaming. But IMHO the genre is a big no-no for a first game. Anyway,

Keep thinking!

Joined: 12/21/2009
Thanks for the reply

Thanks for the reply genericm.

I believe my explanation was probably a little unclear. Each card is used as an action which enables a unit to both move and shoot. The only variables on the cards is the cost, speed, and bonuses (such as a bonus to movement or attack). In each round, players are limited by their hands and command points. These are only replenished at the end of the round and not after they are played.

I see your point though, all these +'s are going to be quite taxing. The way I see it in my mind is each participating player would tally up their +'s to their own single d12 roll. Once I start play testing I'l know if all the bonuses gets out of control.

As per the flippable unit tokens, thats a great idea. My mindset has always been set on miniatures and didn't even think about alternatives. Thanks.

genericm's picture
Joined: 08/11/2009

That does make more sense, It essentially becomes what I was saying. Speed/Command being the most relevant concern.

Don't get me wrong I think the ideas you have listed will make for a more engaging experience.

Keep us posted!

hoywolf's picture
Joined: 01/27/2009
Turn Sequence

I read some of your rules, I was very interested at your turn sequence. After reading your rules, I can see that the order can be different from turn to turn as the speed/action can vary, it seems that you can even have two actions in a single turn if you spend more cards as well or no cards for no actions as well.

The issue I see is that you will still have to wait your turn to take the action, which seems to be counter-productive to idea of this game. The actions are played out turn based style correct? Which means you will still feel the wait time, especially if each action changes the state of the board game; which means that I cant decided on my action till I see yours, might slow down the game.

Hopefully working as a team adds more chatter time in between actions which will help alleviate the wait time. You could also add supporting actions played out by the supporting player as well, you have that supporting fire rule that you could change to do this.

Just my two cent, hope this helps!

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